2 Peter 2:17-19

2 Peter 2:17-19

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

June 19, 2014

 

2 Peter 2 tells us four things about the false teachers, the counterfeit Christians who were infecting the church in the 1st century…

            --vv.10b-13a spells out their attitude…we saw that they…

  • Had an overly inflated opinion of themselves

  • Were selfish and self-centered

  • Did not take the spiritual dimension of life seriously

 

            --vv.13b-16 describes their life-style…was saw that they…

--”count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime”/have sensitive conscience

--”are stains and blemishes”/reflect well upon the Lord and His church

--”have eyes full of adultery”/live morally pure lives

--”have hearts trained in greed”/live contented lives

 

            --vv.17-19, at which look in this session, focuses on their influence…

 

            --vv.20-22, at which look next week, predicts their fate…

With that in mind, look at 2 Peter 2:17-19…(text)…

 

T.S. -  Genuine Christians should be concerned about their influence on others…Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt.5:16)…Jesus also warned against causing others to stumble…

 

Question is, “How do we do that?  What can we do to be a positive influence, to be good role models for those who observe us?”…from the negative example of these counterfeit Christians want to point out some things we can do to influence others in a positive way…

 

I.  We can be real

  1. First thing Peter says about the counterfeit Christians in v.17 is that they are not what/who they appear to be…they are deceptive…they put up a good front…but when you look beyond the façade there is nothing there …they are empty, hollow, having no substance…

  2. Verse 17 contains two figures of speech, two metaphors to describe these counterfeit Christians…these figures of speech would have instantly communicated with Peter’s 1st century readers who lived in the arid world of the middle east…

    --“springs without water” – They were like a mirage… promised something they couldn’t deliver…image is that of thirsty person crawling through desert, dying for a drink of water…sees glistening in the hot desert sun what he thinks is refreshing spring…but when gets there, no water is present…finds nothing but sand…promises one thing but gives another…

    --“mists driven by wind” is a similar metaphor…sometimes the desert winds would kick up the sand and dust in a way that resembled a refreshing mist…as the cloud approached the people in its path anticipated being refreshed and cooled…but when the mist arrived, it wasn’t mist at all but hot, dry dust and sand…promises one thing but gives another…

  3. And what Peter is saying here is that these counterfeit Christians weren’t what they appeared to be…they weren’t real…they were an illusion…they promised one thing, but delivered something else…as he says in v.19, they promised freedom but delivered bondage…

     

  1. It’s important to understand that to be a positive influence on others you don’t have to be perfect…if that were the case, no person would be a positive influence…some of the most well known role models in the Bible had great character flaws…Moses/murder…David/adultery …Peter/denied Jesus…Paul/persecuted Christians…

  2. Truth is, we are always less than perfect…always stumble and fall…and while need not be perfect be positive influence, do need to be genuine, to be real…

  3. Person calling a church prayer line… Just want to know one thing.  Are you for real?”…in other words, can you deliver what you promise…

  4. Few things are more hurtful to our influence that pretending to be something we are not…if we profess—

    --have relationship with Jesus, had better make certain relationship exists…

    --care about people, better really care about them…

    --have heart for doing God’s work, being God’s people in the world, that better be priority of our lives…

  5. To be a positive influence, we must be genuine…real…

     

    II.  We can be honest

  1. Out of the empty lives of counterfeit Christians came empty words… v.18 says they speak “…arrogant words of vanity…”

    --“arrogant” is a compound word…first part a preposition which means over or beyond…second part a noun meaning bulk  or size…kind of like our word super-size which, if you frequent fast food places, you know what that means…

    --”vanity” means emptiness or nothingness…

    …so the phrase can be literally translated “They were speaking super-sized words which said nothing

  2. In other words, instead of telling people the truth, they were going out of their way to say what they thought the people wanted to hear…and their motive for doing that was to win their favor and to draw attention to themselves…and that is a sure way to be a bad influence on others…

     

  1. If you think about that will realize something that we should know intuitively…for example—

    --any parent who tells his/her children only what they want to hear in effort win child’s approval is not going be good parent…

    --any teacher tells students only what want to hear in effort win child’s approval not going be good teacher…

    --any supervisor tells employee only what employee wants to hear in effort win employee’s approval not going be good supervisor…

  2. And same is true for Christians…if we fall into trap of desiring to impress people, to win people’s favor, to draw attention to ourselves by saying only what others desire to hear, we are not going be good influence on their lives…

  3. We need not and should not be brutal with people…should be sensitive to how our words impact them…should, as the Bible commands in Ephesians 4:15 “…speak the truth in love…” …however, speak the truth we must if we are to influence people in a positive way…we can be real…we can be honest…and…

     

    III.  We can be encouragers

  1. The counterfeit Christians Peter describes in these verses were anything but encouragers…instead of appealing to people’s higher nature, they appealed to their lower nature…notice what he says about them in the middle of v.18…”…they entice by fleshly desires…”…we came across this word “entice” a few weeks ago in v.14…told you comes from world of fishing/hunting…used to describe fisherman baiting a hook or hunter baiting a trap…

  2. The bait they used to lead others astray was the appetites of the old sinful nature…they didn’t appeal to the best in people, they appealed to the worst in people…important to understand that “fleshly desires” means much more than just physical, sexual sins…as we have seen in Peter’s description of these false teachers earlier in this chapter, “fleshly desires” include such things as pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, and greed…

  3. What want you see is that false teachers did not encourage others to a higher life…they enticed them to a lower life…

     

    1.   The book In Harms Way by Doug Stanton is the incredible story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis by a Japanese submarine near the end of WWII…of the nearly 1200 crew members on the Indianapolis, 300 were killed by the impact of two torpedoes and the subsequent explosions…in about 10 minutes the 600’ ship was sunk and the other 900 crew members were afloat in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles from the nearest land…they stayed in the water for a horrifying 5 days and when rescue finally arrived, only about 300 of the 1200 man crew was alive…and many of those who survived credited the encouragement of a few brave leaders for helping them hang on and not give up…a number of the survivors said had it not been for the constant encouragement of others, they would have given up and succumbed to death… 

    2.   Must never forget that the best way to be positive influence on others is to encourage them…to appeal to their higher nature…

    Conclusion

  1. There’s an ancient Persian fable about man who found a lump of clay… while looked like any other lump of clay, was anything but ordinary…had an amazing sweet fragrance about it…the pleasant aroma was so strong it would fill whatever room in which the clay was placed…the man who found the clay asked it, “What are you?  Are you some exotic fragrance in disguise?…clay responded, “No, I’m just clay?”…man asked, “Then what is the source of your lovely fragrance?”…and clay said, “It is simple.  I have been dwelling in the presence of a rose.”

  2. And for those who dwell in the presence of Christ, there will be something attractive about us to others…we will be a positive influence on them…and we do that by being real, being honest, and being encouragers…

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